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£10m fire safety plan for tower blocks in borough near Grenfell Tower

Sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms will form part of a range of “enhanced safety measures” in Brent.

Brent Council has announced a £10million fire safety plan for tower blocks in the London borough following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms will form part of a range of “enhanced safety measures” in the borough which borders Kensington and Chelsea, where at least 80 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire four weeks ago.

“Grenfell changed everything,” said Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council. “When it comes to fire safety, ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough.”

A council spokesperson said the new measures will be in addition to the £10million Brent Council has already invested in fire doors and other safety measures since 2012. All 37 of the council-owned tower blocks in the borough were “fire risk compliant”, they added, and none are “covered in dangerous cladding”.

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have told of a lack of sprinklers or fire alarms in the building and experts suspect that cladding panels fitted to the building’s exterior helped the fire to spread.

The disaster has spurred a nationwide assessment of council-owned tower blocks, in which samples of cladding from buildings have undergone combustibility tests. All 190 samples tested so far have failed.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a retired Court of Appeal judge, has been appointed to lead a public inquiry into the causes of the fire.

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Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt says more needs to be done (Matt Alexander/PA)

Mr Butt said: “We can’t afford to wait any longer for Government to take the lead, which is why we’re committing £10million to this work, right now. And if we get the Government to step up and put its money where its mouth is then all the better.”

On July 5, the Government announced it was sending a specialist task force to assist Kensington and Chelsea council with the “long-term recovery effort”.

It came after the council’s leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown, stepped down following fierce criticism over the authority’s handling of the disaster.

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